Katheryn Winnick’s Trip to Cannes Was a True Celebration of Cinema

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Sure, the Cannes Film Festival is the epitome of glamour, but at its heart, the event is a celebration of cinema that priorities story over spectacle. Mass market fare gets the bulk of attention in Hollywood, but Cannes showcases films that are innovative, artistic, and at times, intimate. For Flag Day star Katheryn Winnick, 2021’s festival was an opportunity to share a passion project with the world. An actress and producer on the drama directed by Sean Penn, Winnick headed to the South of France for its debut. “Independent films are so rare these days in a market where we are oversaturated by big blockbusters and television shows, that the art of filmmaking needs to be celebrated,” she shared post-premiere. “I am so proud of this film.” 

Flag Day tells the story of real-life con-artist John Vogel, a charismatic counterfeiter whose arrest in 1995 resulted in one of the largest seizures of counterfeit currency in American history. Vogel’s daughter, Jennifer, would later pen a book about his crimes and her relationship with a father who could be charming and dangerous in equal measure. Winnick, who plays Jennifer’s mother Patty, was drawn to the one-of-a-kind tale. “I loved the intimate family portrait of the father/daughter relationship,” she says. “The fact that this is based on a true story made it even more special.” Sharing the screen with a Hollywood icon like Penn was also a draw. “As a young director myself, I was in awe seeing him direct and act,” says Winnick. “I knew I wanted to [also] be involved as a producer to help get this story to the screen.” 

The hard work paid off, and Winnick experienced a pinch-me moment while on the steps of the Palais du Cinema. Surrounded by co-stars Sean and Dylan Penn, Jadyn Rylee, and Beckam Crawford, she looked out on the crowd below and took in their frenzied excitement for a project she’d nurtured from start to finish. “We were standing at the top of the stairs at the Palais, arms intertwined looking out and seeing the hundreds of photographers and fans there to celebrate the premiere,” she shared post-event. “[It] was such a magical moment and one that I will never forget.” 

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